A stubby man in an open-necked shirt stands against the backdrop of a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, on the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, waving a thick forefinger threateningly in the air. Mervyn Silva, the minister of public relations, growls that traitors should be executed as in the times of ancient kings.
Eager to deflect attention from thorny bread-and-butter issues, the government has whipped up patriotic fervour among the public. For weeks preceding the resolution, ministers implied that their heroic president would be hauled up before an international war crimes tribunal. In fact, that was never on the cards.